The three hundreds of Chiltern
Introduction and map

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Victoria County History

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William Page (editor)

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1925

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32-34

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'The three hundreds of Chiltern: Introduction and map', A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3 (1925), pp. 32-34. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42523 Date accessed: 29 July 2014.


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THE THREE HUNDREDS OF CHILTERN


Index Map to the Three Hundreds of Chiltern

THE HUNDRED OF DESBOROUGH (fn. 1)

CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF

RADENHAM IBSTONE STOKENCHURCH (transferred from Oxfordshire)
FAWLEY GREAT MARLOWTURVILLE
FINGEST LITTLE MARLOW WOOBURN
HAMBLEDEN MEDMENHAM HIGH WYCOMBE
HEDSOR RADNAGE WEST WYCOMBE
HUGHENDEN SAUNDERTON

THE HUNDRED OF BURNHAM

CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF

AMERSHAM CHALFONT ST. PETER FARNHAM ROYAL with HEDGERLEY DEAN and SEER GREEN
BEACONSFIELD CHENIES HITCHAM
BURNHAM with LOWER BOVENEY CHESHAM PENN
CHESHAM BOISTAPLOW
CHALFONT ST. GILES DORNEY

THE HUNDRED OF STOKE

CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF

COLNBROOK HEDGERLEY STOKE POGES
DATCHET HORTON UPTON-CUM-CHALVEY
DENHAM IVER WEXHAM
ETON LANGLEY MARISH WYRARDISBURY (fn. 2)
FULMER SLOUGH

Even as early as the 11th century the three hundreds of Desborough, Burnham and Stoke seem to have been grouped together, (fn. 3) and by the middle of the 13th century were known as the three Chiltern Hundreds. (fn. 4) In 1086 Desborough Hundred was assessed at 122 hides 2½ virgates, Burnham at 100 hides (fn. 5) and Stoke at 112 hides 2 virgates. (fn. 6) The parishes of Beaconsfield, Chalvey, Chenies, Fingest, Fulmer, Hedgerley, Hedsor, Langley Marish, Penn, Radnage and Wexham are not named in the Domesday Survey. The hamlets of Boveney in Burnham, Bockmer in Medmenham, Ditton, a detached part of Stoke Poges, Tylers [Green] in Penn and Lyde in Wooburn have separate entries, and Upton was included under the king's lands. Eton has been transferred from Burnham to Stoke Hundred and Farnham Royal from Stoke to Burnham Hundred. Coleshill, a detached part of Hertfordshire, is now included in Burnham Hundred. Stokenchurch, which is locally in Desborough Hundred, was transferred from Oxfordshire to Buckinghamshire in 1896.

As early as the 13th century, if not before, the Chiltern Hundreds were appurtenant to the Crown and were administered as a royal bailiwick. (fn. 7) In 1653 they yielded yearly in hidage £28 5s. 1d. and in other payments £5 10s. (fn. 8) In 1824 the hundreds of Desborough and Stoke appear to have been leased to Francis Godolphin Osborne, ancestor of the Duke of Leeds. (fn. 9)

The office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds has long been a purely nominal one. The passing of the Place Act in 1742 (fn. 10) made it possible to use this appointment for Parliamentary purposes as a pretext for enabling members of the House of Commons to resign their seats. This has been done often, several times in one session, since 1750, when John Peel resigned his seat in this way. (fn. 11) Particulars about applications by members for this office and the form used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in making the appointment were printed by the House of Commons in 1846. (fn. 12)

By the middle of the 13th century there was a second royal bailiwick of Chiltern Hundreds, comprising the Oxfordshire hundreds of Binfield, Langtree, Lewknor, Pirton and half the hundred of Ewelme, distinguished as the Four and a half Chiltern Hundreds. (fn. 13)

Accounts made in connexion with their administration are extant, dating between 1270 and 1485, (fn. 14) but the last reference to them as the Chiltern Hundreds that has been found occurs in 1521. (fn. 15)

Footnotes

1 The name of the hundred survives in the earthwork of Desborough Castle in West Wycombe parish, which was probably the meeting-place of the hundred.
2 These names are taken from the Pop. Ret. 1831, i, 26, 28, 30, 32, but they are given there in slightly different order; Colnbrook was part of Horton and Slough part of Upton-cum-Chalvey, while Lilli Fee is mentioned with Hedsor and Brands Fee with Hughenden.
3 F. H. Baring, Domesday Tables, 129. For a discussion of the limits of the region occupied by the Cilternsaetae see 'The Tribal Hidage,' by W. J. Corbett, M.A., in Trans. R. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 199 et seq., and 'The Tribal Hidage,' by J. Brownbill, in Engl. Hist. R. xxvii, 642 et seq.
4 Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 34a: 'Item in comitatu scilicet in Ciltre sunt tres hundreda et vicecomes capit per annum de ballivo suo septem marcas.'
5 This reckoning includes Farnham Royal, which was assessed under Stoke, and leaves out Eton, which was part of Stoke, though assessed under Burnham, and which has been reckoned in Stoke for purposes of hidage.
6 V.C.H. Bucks. i, from the Domesday entries. The royal manor of Upton has been included in the hidage of Stoke.
7 cf. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 21, 23, 34a.
8 Parl. Surv. Bucks. no. 4.
9 Recov. R. Mich. 5 Geo. IV, m. 44.
10 Stat. 15 Geo. II, cap. 22.
11 Journ. of House of Commons, xxvi, 5.
12 Accts. and Papers, 1846, xxxiii, 143. Burnham is here called Bouenham.
13 Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 30, 43.
14 Mins. Accts. bdle. 1095, no. 9, 10, 11; bdle. 1022, no. 2; bdle. 1096, no. 1–3, 14, 18–20; bdle. 1097, no. 1, 3–9.
15 L. and P. Hen. VIII, iii, 1345.